Tricking out an Ericson 32 MK3 for Racing

thadwoz

Member I
My 32-200 came with a short track and pole ring at the front of the mast.

I have a topping-lift sheave 3/4's of the way up the mast and three forward-facing sheaves at the masthead.

Yesterday I bought a second-hand spinnaker pole (Forespar, 3" o.d.) the same length as the J of my jib for $200 on Craigslist. I need to install a toggle pin on my mast to make the pole work as is, so instead I am going to replace the female toggle inboard fitting with a jaw clamp and use my existing ring.

I know nothing about racing and have never flown a spinnaker, but if you would like to come check out a 32-200 I would be happy to show it to you. Sounds like you could give me some pointers on spinnaker flying. I'd be taking a class of some sort before I tried anything with a sail.

My boat is in Sausalito. PM me and we can set something up if you'd like.
Sounds like this could be a mutually beneficial learning experience! I'll ping you.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Obviously we admire just about everything about Ericsons, because just about everything Ericson is right And they were no doubt competitive for handicap racing when designed, more or less. They carry a thousand pounds of lovely furniture, have graceful bow and overhang stern, and no intention of planing ever. Design evolved radically. I think the phrase 'tricking out' puts an undue burden of expectation on the boats, which are what they are and were intended to be.

Subtext: I hate the idea of a symmetrical spinnaker and its gear in 2021 and would avoid one like the plague.
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
I think the phrase 'tricking out' puts an undue burden of expectation on the boats, which are what they are and were intended to be.
I think that's a great point. If someone wants to race, they can buy a Soverel; to cruise, a Seacraft. For a performance sailer in between, I love my Ericson 32.

Subtext: I hate the idea of a symmetrical spinnaker and its gear in 2021 and would avoid one like the plague.
You can rightfully say that as someone with a depth of experience in both (sym's and assym's). But for a new sailor, with a bit of an old-school taste, rigging for and setting a symmetrical spinnaker seems like a necessary right-of-passage, the lack of which would seem to leave a gap in one's resume'. How would I know to appreciate the advantages of the newer assyms without ever struggling with poles, guys, and wet chutes? Taken to the extreme, if one really wants to avoid ALL the hassle, he can always buy a powerboat.
 
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Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
:) The very phrase 'rite of passage" passed my mind as I was typing. And of course (he muttered under his breath),, there is no way you could take from my cold undead hand the former fun and teamwork of a spinnaker jibe in a whitecapped fleet.
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
I think that's a great point. If someone wants to race, they can buy a Soverel; to cruise, a Seacraft. For a performance sailer in between, I love my Ericson 32.


You can rightfully say that as someone with a depth of experience in both (sym's and assym's). But for a new sailor, with a bit of an old-school taste, rigging for and setting a symmetrical spinnaker seems like a necessary right-of-passage, the lack of which would seem to leave a gap in one's resume'. How would I know to appreciate the advantages of the newer assyms without ever struggling with poles, guys, and wet chutes? Taken to the extreme, if one really wants to avoid ALL the hassle, he can always buy a powerboat.
I'm in the need-to-learn category. In some of my rambling research I have found advocacy for poled-out Asymmetrics:


But of course, I'm more worried about this sort of thing:

 

Geoff W.

Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm
Blogs Author
We pole out the assym on the big boat I race on (Farr 39) and it is far and away the most complicated you could rig a foredeck for anything. So many lines. I honestly think it's harder than plain old symmetrical gybing. In some ways, a well executed symmetrical gybe is much easier than an asymmetrical gybe. A poorly executed symmetrical gybe might be worse than a poorly executed assym gibe, though.

Racing assyms are best on modern boats whose light displacement and boat design lets them sail faster than hull speed downwind. Boats like the E32-3 just aren't going to push the assym to a competitive edge. We were designed for traditional chutes, to point as low as possible, and get to the mark. Of course, in Puget Sound where we're windward/leeward 95% of the time, hard up and way down are the only directions you go.
 

thadwoz

Member I
I think the phrase 'tricking out' puts an undue burden of expectation on the boats, which are what they are and were intended to be.

Maybe its symantics, but my inquiries aren't about making an E32 something it isn't, but rather maximizing something it appears to be, a good balance between performance and amenities.

I think that's a great point. If someone wants to race, they can buy a Soverel; to cruise, a Seacraft. For a performance sailer in between, I love my Ericson 32.
And if someone wants portions of both, that is two boats... or something in between. I think something a little racier, like the Olson 911 or 34 may be a better fit for my desires, but they are hard to find, whereas there are several E32's available locally.
:) The very phrase 'rite of passage" passed my mind as I was typing. And of course (he muttered under his breath),, there is no way you could take from my cold undead hand the former fun and teamwork of a spinnaker jibe in a whitecapped fleet.

Nailing a spinnaker jibe off of Point Conception in 30+ knots under the stars at 3 AM was the singular highlight of my short sailing "career". Brilliant execution by all six of us on the boat, allowing us to put miles between us and our competition by the time the sun came up (to be clear, coastal/offshore racing is not the goal of this E32 question).
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
To clarify, perhaps, around here we see large A-syms both on boats they can benefit like the smaller J's, and also on Winnebago's like some of the Hunta-Cata-Benelina's. Only a very few of these like some of the J's and a Melges and the odd Flying Tiger seem to have the reaching speed to really use these very well.
And back to comparisons to Honda sedans with wings....
:)

Marketing Madness further: when we bought a '99 Infiniti G20, we really wanted the "T" model because it came with a viscous limited slip if you accepted the silly wing on the trunk, so we passed on that and bought the model below it. I will always wonder if some new driving technique would have been required with a limited slip axel on a front wheel drive car! :)
 

G Kiba

Member III
My boat came with both symmetric and asymmetric sails. Neither have been flown by me as I have just added the necessary rigging for the symmetric (topping lift and foreguy). The mast is not original and is fairly new. I suspect that the original fell (for an unknown to me reason) and was replaced without the topping lift box and sheave. The boat came with a carbon fiber spin pole with no place to hang it? When i opened the spin bag I found a crude foreguy that must have attached to the mast base (won't need that anymore). I also found a pair of dyneema spinsheets long enough for the "A" sail. Oh and two high tech halyards! It's like finding $900 in your coat pocket! Did I mention the 4 Ronstan Snatch blocks? It's like opening a sailors treasure box that keeps on giving. To bad it's still hard on the wallet. My plan is to be able to fly either kite shorthanded on day sails and the occasional race shorthanded and crewed. There is nothing like flying a kite, except taking in down when you get over your head!
 

Slick470

Member III
I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to update one of these boats to race it and try to be competitive. A clean and fair bottom, a good set of sails, a few modifications here and there to make racing a bit easier, and a reasonably competent and skilled crew should put you in the mix. That is why there is handicap racing. The Ericson factory even had a racing team where they would race various production models. Seth could probably tell you if a 32-3 was one they raced or not.

I agree that it isn't about making the boat something it's not, but making the most of the boat you have... or want.
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
I think something a little racier, like the Olson 911 or 34 may be a better fit for my desires, but they are hard to find, whereas there are several E32's available locally.
I looked for 2 years, and hoped to find a local 32-3. Eventually, I trucked one in from out of state, but it was the model I really wanted.

Considering that a HUGE amount of time will be spent will be on routine maintenance and repairs (engine, leaks, gelcoat, electrics, ports, etc, etc), that time outlay seems less onerous if done on a "keeper" boat that is what you really wanted in the first place.

I.e., it might be worth considering to wait for the right 911 to come along, or to ship one in from somewhere, rather than to try to turn a second-choice boat into your 911.
 

Cbuydos

Member I
Great topic with some great advice. As an avid racer and owner of an Olson 34, I would advice you to look at the situation in a different way. Since you will be likely racing PHRF, you will want to do some research. PHRF only works if you can race your boat against other boats with similar ratings. Once you start to get large rating spreads, it tends to fall apart. First, do some research in the area that you plan to race. Look back at the area racing association or the clubs that you will be racing in going back 4 years (2020 does not count). Look at the boats that are racing and review their ratings. Do not worry about how they finished. Now, does the boat you are considering fit in with the existing rating spreads you are seeing. For example, if you go with the 32-2 with a rating of around 180 give or take, you will want to find boats to race against +30 to - 30 to race against (210 to 150). After finding the correct rating spread, focus on your budget. You can make almost any boat a champion with a good bottom and new racing sails. The bottom is mostly labor, but the sails are all money $$$$. You want to be able to purchase good sails every few years so you need to make sure you can afford that. The smaller the boat the more affordable. To give you an idea we just spent $10 grand on a new carbon #1 & #3 for our Olson 34 this year. Likely going to need a new main in 2 years. That will likely be another $4000.00. Considering an A3 next year which will be around $2500.00. I think you see where I’m going. You can buy the hottest boat around, but without good sails there is no point. In the 30 foot range you will not find better racer cruisers than the Olson 911 or the J30. You are asking the right questions! Good luck!
 

thadwoz

Member I
@Cbuydos - You hit on a lot of the elements I have been thinking about, where I would rather invest in a full top-notch sail inventory for a smaller boat than a few sails for a larger boat. We carry 2 jibs and 5 symmetric spinnakers on the 40'er I race on, and have two mains; that adds up quick. A smaller boat is less $ per sail, and potentially less sails, to fully set-up. Building that inventory over time is easier as well. (I'd probably be content with an O25, but it would be a lot easier to get the family out on a 911).

Re: PHRF, there isn't a massive difference in ratings between the Olson 911 at 126/132 for the S/SE and the E32 at 156. The larger regatta with ~150 boats with the PHRF range of 100-150 being broken into 5 different fleets ("big" boats, "small boats", ULDB's, Express 27's, and J/24's). Either way there will be boats to race, but in terms of competition I would be more concerned with the E32 getting lumped in with the ULDB boats around rated around 140-150 for smaller races than the 911 duking it out with the boats in the 105-120 range.

To sum up the thread, it seems like the E32 is still a great option to meet our family-oriented near-term goals, with the ability to casually race beer cans and club races, but it most likely isn't the boat for my competitive itch that will eventually come out.

So, anyone know where I can find a 911 in/near the Bay! ;) (And does anyone have any intel on the 911 for sale in Olympia, WA? Farther away than desired, especially during a pandemic...)

Thanks to all for the conversation, it's been fun.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Looks clean and is priced right. And I know for sure that Ballard Sails are considered good quality and racers buy them (friend of mine is a rep for them)
Those are, like ours, a solid layup hull. No way do you want a cored hull from that era, like the J's.
Check on a trucking company. This might be fun. :)
 

Geoff W.

Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm
Blogs Author
This has been a good thread. I am always thinking about how to race my 32-3 better, but up here I rated 198 NFS and now rate 195 NFS / 174 FS now that I have a Maxprop on it. It's close competition but it's starting to push the edge of the ratings band I can sail the boat to. I don't think I would be competitive in the 150 rating band up here.
 

Slick470

Member III
That Olson 911 looks to be in pretty good shape from the pictures, but it doesn't look like it was set up for racing with a symmetrical spin. In theory, the sheave box for the topping lift and masthead halyard parts are in place, but it's hard to say. It doesn't look like it has a mast ring or track for a pole. Boat also has a fixed prop, where you may want a folder for racing.

Racing with the wheel is doable, but with the smallish wheel you can't really drive from the rail which is a nice option. One of the nice things about the tiller is with a good extension, you can sit on the rails and drive from either side and you can reach most places in the cockpit which is great for short handed sailing.

A larger wheel could solve much of that, but the 911 cockpit would require some surgery to fit one since it just wasn't really designed for a wheel. Just cutting a slot and glassing in a trench like some boats have done wouldn't work as well either because the wheel lines up with the lazerette and sail locker lids, which would need to get moved, or made smaller. Smaller isn't great because they aren't that big to begin with. It may be relatively painless to go back to a tiller though, I don't know.

If you are serious about looking, take a look at the facebook group and dig through some of the conversations. At least one of those threads had a list of things to look for that are potential problems.

Oh, and if you do get it and don't want the cabinet behind the table, I'll happily take that off your hands. I wish ours had one...
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Oh, and if you do get it and don't want the cabinet behind the table, I'll happily take that off your hands. I wish ours had one...
Hey Andy, If you can come up with a decent diagram/plan for a cabinet, you could make one up with foam core or honeycomb. I have not done any work like this with a teak veneer cover, but have built several major pieces with a painted finish. Really Light weight, strong, and pretty easy to work with using cloth and epoxy. I used odd-shaped honeycomb panels I sourced from the former Boeing Surplus store in Tacoma, but similar stuff is available off the web.
 

Slick470

Member III
Loren, I've been playing around with a few ideas for one to mock up, as well as some improved storage for the galley area, but if I just happened to be gifted one, or offered one cheaply. That would be ok too. :egrin:

Oh, and I wish I knew of someplace local that sold offcuts like you were able to get from Boeing. I used to live in Wichita, and they had a surplus store there too. Used to stop buy and pick up the odd bit of office furniture to outfit construction trailers. That was before I had our Olson and had projects where honeycomb panels would have come in handy.
 
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G Kiba

Member III
Andy, The cabinet above the table is a wine glass and bottle holder. Almost useless for storage unless you really like and must have wine while sailing. If you think a little about it you can visualize the staging that must gone on when they were first selling this model. My cabinet was modified with teak boards across the front making the shelves into useful cubbies which i put keys, small parts, binoculars, etc. A false bottom covers the holes for the wine bottles. Just in case I take up drinking more seriously.
 
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